After a day filled with grandchildren giggling, playing, and running about the house in carefree abandon, the busyness of the day had faded and evening was upon us. The last little one had departed, leaving Grandpa and Grandma in the stillness to which we have become accustomed. But what happened next touched my heart and moistened my eyes. As we gathered up toys, folded the bedding, and tidied up the storybooks, I could sense the sadness saturating Grandpa’s spirit. Isn’t it amazing how quiet a house can become? he lamented. I’m generally the emotional mess in the family, but on this occasion, a daddy’s heart, filled to capacity with love and affection, was deeply missing his little brood.
For forty-five long years I have enjoyed a ringside seat at a wondrous display of a father’s love, a human father’s love. This daddy would tediously organize baseball cards with his eldest son, patiently help him build his first pinewood derby car, and teach him to fish. With son number two he would share an interest in cars, collecting matchbox sets, spending Saturdays cruising the used car lots and learning all about every make and model. The youngest son would inherit his father’s love of books and those deep delves into the Word of God. The bond this earthly dad would establish with each of his sons would be amazingly unique to each of them as individuals. Those boys would always be part of him, he would provide for them with undying faithfulness, tend to their every need, and carry within himself their every hurt. But then I would witness another miraculous display of a father’s love, for a petite Japanese girl would steal her fair share of this daddy’s affection, her adopted daddy’s affection. And although not born of his blood, she would find herself deeply embedded in his heart. She IS and WILL ALWAYS BE daddy’s little girl.
Within the pages of Scripture, many different names are used to describe God, but none so endearing to me as the term “Abba, Father.” Mentioned three times in the New Testament, this term emphasizes the fatherhood of God…emphatically…and doubly…in two languages! But this particular ‘fatherhood’ results from adoption, a specific moment in time when someone is legally installed as a son or daughter. I have personally watched the complicated process of a legal adoption unfold on three separate occasions, once as we sat nervously in a courtroom and welcomed a daughter into our home, and once again as a precious granddaughter became part of our family tree. But neither adoption, as celebratory as they were, brought as much joy and sheer bliss than the day that I was the subject of the adoption, the moment that I was rescued from the sinful lineage of Adam’s family and miraculously grafted into the family of God. What a glorious moment, when I “received the Spirit of adoption, whereby…” I had the privilege of crying out for the very first time, “…Abba, Father.”
On our daughter’s adoption day, after months of complicated paperwork had finally been completed, we were instructed by the judge that from that moment forward, this child would be our legal heir, recipient of all the financial benefits and inheritances afforded to her three, blood-born brothers. When I became God’s child, I also gained an inheritance, but with a bit of a twist, for I became “joint-heirs with Christ.” and this joint-heir scenario far exceeds any inheritance that my husband could pass along for our children to share. The process of being a joint-heir is an amazing thought, best described by this example: If a man dies, leaving a large farm to four heirs…each heir receives a percent of the whole. But if a man leaves a farm to four joint-heirs, then each son owns the WHOLE farm. Each one can say ‘This house is mine; those barns are mine; those fields are mine!’ (D. Barnhouse) When the Lord tells us that we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,” we are being informed of this overwhelming thought: EVERYTHING that God has given to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has been given to us through adoption…ALL OF IT! What love of a Father, to grant such unfathomable riches upon one as unworthy as I!
Today as we babysat, I was reminded anew of a father’s love, a love that is deep, protective, unconditional, and unwavering. But a human father’s love pales in comparison to the love of a heavenly Father. I am a joint-heir with the blessed Lamb of God. That adoption process allows me to approach the throne of my Father, having “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” I can have that “full assurance of faith” with unwavering confidence “through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” leaning firmly upon the truth that “he is faithful that promised.” I am no longer hiding from God, as did Adam and Eve after their Garden demise, but I am safely abiding in His strong hands, and no one is able to pluck me from my Father’s grasp, for I am His child. I have been redeemed from a curse and handed an inheritance; the “Spirit of adoption” has freed me from the “spirit of bondage.” And these blessing are given to me freely, eternal benefits that cost my Savior His life on the cross.
Abba, Father…my dear, holy, loving Father! How I love you, because You have first loved me. Can YOU call Him by the intimate name Abba, Father? Is He YOUR Father through adoption? If He is, call upon Him today and thank Him for that rich inheritance you have through Christ. If He isn’t, place childlike faith in the One Who loves you far beyond your comprehension.
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
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